n South African Journal of Higher Education - Managing in the rapidly changing context of higher education : a manager, as "reflective practitioner" reflects on some experiences

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



How today's managers of institutions of higher education "succeed" is a question needing an answer. Higher education is one of the most rapidly changing sectors of our society. Besides the rate of change in the sector there are also, as seen from the continuous media coverage, a number of universities and technikons in some form of financial or leadership crisis. Over the past years one of the main reasons given for these crises was outstanding student fees. However, the reasons now alluded to are those of limited anagement capacity and mismanagement. The institutional manager is required to manage and create some degree of balance amongst the seemingly never-ending stakeholder demands. With the higher educational context, as well as the stakeholder demands, continually changing, this becomes an unpredictable and uncertain task. The manager most likely to succeed should be the person who can comfortably operate in a working environment of continuous change and uncertainty. Reference to personal experiences would suggest that this changing context places great demands on the professional expertise of the manager. The manager cannot use a standard frame of reference to solve or address these everchanging situations. The high degree of uncertainty requires that the manager develop a non-static repertoire of skills that can be changed and improved through learning from experience and through reflection. In reviewing these examples from higher education settings this article attempts to highlight the benefit to the practicing manager of developing the skills of reflective learning.

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